Abu Dhabi was once a sleepy fishing village and knowing its tradition and culture will make you better understand what an extraordinary transformation happened here in order to create the Abu Dhabi we now get to experience.
Although it is still in the desert, Abu Dhabi is growing into the regional business hub that has seen a large increase in the number of tourists recently and this post will give you a hint of things you can experience if you decide to spend your vacation here.
Beduins carved the culture of Abu Dhabi because they were the ones who started living here in the desert since the late 1700s and they used falcons to help them provide food for their families, which is one of the reasons that Falcon is on the UAE flag today. They’ve slept in large tents with their families and falcons slept next to them because they were treated as family members. Women were creating beautiful Al Sadu traditional weaving pieces and pottery which was used in the house and they were wearing Henna art which is still popular today.
Dates were helping bedouins survive in the rough desert climate and the most popular kind are Khalass dates because they thrive in dry desert conditions. Fun Fact: Date palms in the UAE grow up to around 30 feet in height and can produce dates up to 150 years!
If you want to treat yourself or your friends back home to a premium date brand my favorite ones are Bateel dates with pistachios, dark chocolate sprinkles, and candied orange!
If you love water parks, Yas Waterworld is a must visit with over 40 rides, slides, and attractions. It is just a 10-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport, and a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi city center, but you can take one their shuttles if you don’t want to worry about finding it alone. You can choose rides from 4 thrill levels so a child of any age can find something here. Make sure to check out the planned events and activities before your trip to Yas because there are many fun activities like Spring Fest going on here every month.
Yas Mall is on Yas Island and if you are not the type who would go to Yas Waterworld or Ferrari World than Yas Mall can be your option B while your friends are having fun in the amusement parks. The Mall also has many fun events of its own. Stores are open Thursday to Friday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM (Midnight) and you also have family entertainment and VOX cinemas are an option to spend your spare time in.
My favorite places in the Yas Mall is the food court! ROGO’s Restaurant is another cool spot to visit if you come with kids because they will certainly enjoy the food falling from the rollercoaster. We had freshly squeezed juices served in large glass jars, delicious salmon and salads and the real challenge was learning how to release the food from the rollercoaster once it lands in front of your table 🙂 I bet kids would figure it out faster than us adults 🙂
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a tribute to Ferrari. Each area and attraction in the Park present a different part of the Ferrari story, from Cinema Maranello with its film about Enzo Ferrari to Formula Rossa the world’s fastest roller coaster. You can also grab a traditional espresso at Espresso Rosso and fresh pizza made in a traditional wood-burning oven at Mamma Rosella. The trattoria is named in honor of the real Mamma Rossella, whose restaurant in Maranello is a firm favorite with Ferrari drivers. Fun Fact: It is the first restaurant in the whole of the Middle East and Africa to offer real Neapolitan pizza, accredited by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association.
Telal Resort Al Ain
Located in the heart of the dessert, Telal Resort Al AIain is a unique combination of luxury and heritage. You can enjoy some of the typical Abu Dhabi activities here such as exciting desert safari, but also enjoy the night sky full of stars from the pool in front of your villa.
Dinner here was amazing, we got sets of different dips, breads, salads and mains. I was snacking on dates during the whole stay and drinking lots of Arabic coffee, so in the end, I got a large luxury box of Telal branded dates. When I got back home to Belgrade, my mom fell in love with the box and we ate the whole thing in 2 days 🙂
Dates are a power fruit that gives you a lot of energy, health benefits and I use them as a treat with my coffee, tea and as a base for my raw vegan bars. The Live Date Festival takes place each summer in Abu Dhabi so make sure to visit it if you are there in the summer seasons.
St.Regis is located on the beautiful Corniche beach in Abu Dhabi, which is a great starting point if you plan to enjoy the Abu Dhabi attractions.
I know a lot of my readers are fitness nerds such as myself, so here is a little something for you guys. You can reset in the Remede SPA and the hotel gym, as well as the open swimming pool with a rooftop bar and a view, but I highly recommend doing a morning run on the Corniche beach, where you will be able to see some local people walking down the beach with their falcons on their shoulders, which I saw the last time I was here 🙂 This is truly something you get to see only in Abu Dhabi!
If you are more beach kind of a person, you will be able to relax and recharge at Nation Riviera Beach Club, where a 200m of pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf will be available to you, alongside with the restaurant, gym, pool and Treasure Island, children’s retreat, built in the shape of a pirate boat.
Abu Dhabi is generally famous for its beach leisure, especially since it has so many sunny days during the year! Whenever you want to escape your daily routine, jumping on a plane and spending at least a few days in Abu Dhabi will refresh and regenerate you.
If you are looking to do something more extravagant, Brunch in the Clouds might be your cup of tea! It is hosted in the World’s Highest Suspended Suite that has over 1,120 square meters. During the brunch, each room will have something different to offer to suit various tastes. From cinema full of candy to caviar ice bar, oyster room, cheese and dessert room, each of te 50 diners will get to have a unique experience on the last Friday of each month. Just make sure to sign up in time so you don’t get left out. While guests relax during the brunch, they can enjoy the complimentary shoulder massages and manicure for the ladies.
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There are hotel rooms, there are luxury hotel rooms and then there is the Abu Dhabi Suite in @stregisabudhabi which is 220 meters above the ground 😍 It has 2200 square metre two story suite, a butler, a spa, a cinema and 360 degree panoramic view of the city. Who wouldn't wanna stay here when #inabudhabi #luxurytravel #luxuryhotels
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Starting a travel blog in Februaru 2013 I had no idea where this path would lead me and I am so grateful to be able to share my #luxurytravel adventures with you guys on my blog and in Cosmopolitan Serbia as well 👌 Thank you for being part of my journey 🌏✈😉 Thanks @visitabudhabi for having me #inabudhabi #stregisabudhabi
Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque
One of the most spectacular places I have seen not only in Abu Dhabi but globally. Before you decide to visit the mosque, please don’t act like an impolite tourist and respect local customs and traditions by dressing politely. Wear something loose and cover your head, ankles, and wrists. You can enjoy one of the guided tours, just make sure to come here before 4:30 pm in time to catch the sunset it is an extraordinary experience! There is 24 karat gold gilded chandeliers insides where a lot of tourists love to take photos and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet!
Besides being the national emblem of the UAE, falcons are the Arab Bedouins tradition. Falconry is still very popular in the Middle East region and falcons are more than pets, they are considered and treated as family members. These extraordinary creatures fascinated me even more after the compelling story I’ve heard in The Falcon Hospital.
The Falcon Hospital has opened in 1999 and it is now the largest falcon hospital in the world where people from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi bring their falcons for annual checkups. I would really recommend visiting this on your trip to Abu Dhabi, because to me personally, it was an unforgettable experience.
Falcons are birds of prey, they see more than 8x better than us humans and use their sharp tooth to kill the animal 3x their size in a fast and furious manner. They have laser focus, incredible hunting skills. The female falcons are dominant, ruthless and fly up to 240 miles per hour when chasing their prey. They only have one partner in their entire life and they meet only when they mate. After that, they separate and continue living and hunting in solitude.
If you would like to find out more about these beautiful creatures visit the Falcon hospital website.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got to experience a little bit of what Abu Dhabi has to offer. I will be writing a separate blog post about the whole St.Regis experience, so stay tuned 🙂 Thank you Visit Abu Dhabi for hosting me on this beautiful trip and Air Serbia for flying me there safely and in style!